As a child, my idea of meditation was not exactly what most folks associate it with. While I would sit in front of the TV for hours as if I were in a trance, truth was that it was really more of mindless entertainment. Cartoon fare, if you will. As for nutrition, this was mostly sweets, chocolates, and whatever my Mom would whip up.
As I grew older, mediation, much less healthy eating, were the last things on my mind. In fact, my teenage years were more colorful than a children’s coloring book. And not in a good way, mind you. That’s because these years were the time I started experimenting with drugs and alcohol.
Yes, at a very early age, I began my adventure. A journey that would eventually lead me to either deliverance or disaster. But thanks to my family, I chose the former. Of course, the first few months of rehab weren’t a walk in the park. In fact, all the group sessions, detox, and therapy could sometimes be a painful process. Yet 8 years on, I have learned two very valuable insights: mediation and healthy eating.
Yes, believe it or not, meditation and proper nutrition are integral parts of the road to recovery. Not only do they help you on your journey to alcohol and drug detox but also help you focus more on what’s important in life.
So how do mediation and proper nutrition help improve your life, you ask?
Your Brain: While meditation has a lot of physical benefits, the brain is actually one of the biggest winners here. Constant meditation increases brain activity and makes it function better. You tend to process information faster, too.
Moreover, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine notes that mediation, especially deep meditation, can help treat anxiety just as effectively as an antidepressant. And as we all know, anyone addicted to drugs and alcohol used these as an excuse to fight anxiety and panic disorders. Thanks to mediation, however, the fight was done cleanly
Besides mediation, I also learned the value of proper nutrition. Believe it or not, what you eat can actually have quite a number of effects not only on your physical but mental well-being as well.
Mood: It has been said that you are what you eat. So eating right can naturally make you a more positive person. Eat junk food, for instance, and your mood can tend to turn all sour.
Unleashing your Mind’s Potential: Proper nutrition can likewise help you unlock new potential in the brain. A few months into rehab, I found myself yearning to learn new things, to accept new challenges, and to find the answers to questions.
This can be seen in how folks who meditate tend to have increased focus, are more attentive and have better cognitive skills. Moreover, those who meditate and eat right can think clearly, which is useful during those periods of decision-making. Since your brain is clearer and more focused, you can arrive at the best decision more easily.
Another benefit of mediation and proper eating is the ability to manage pain better. Researchers at the University of Montreal noted that Zen Masters who engaged in these practices were better able to deal with pain than their non-practicing counterparts. And for a recovering addict, this is great news as one need not rely on habit-forming drugs to relieve discomfort.
Of course, what you eat can likewise affect your energy levels. Foods such as whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and of course, fruits and vegetables, can keep you up and about, alert and raring to go throughout the day. And when it comes time to hit the sack, these very same foods can aid in providing a relaxed, calm slumber.
Better health: As we all know, proper nutrition can help you achieve better health. Eating right helps you avoid heart disease, lowers your chances of stroke, lowers blood pressure, decreases blood sugar levels (thus helping you stay away from diabetes and eventual kidney disease), and essentially developing other health issues and complications.
Yet I also discovered that meditation can likewise aid in combatting these same health issues. And studies by the Harvard Medical School, among others, back these up So it goes without saying that a bit of daily silence and focus can really do wonders for our body.
You Can Also Help Your Children: Yes, passing on the practices of meditation and proper nutrition to our offspring is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. It helps them become more optimistic, increases their self-esteem, makes them happier people, reduces their hostility towards their peers, helps them in their academic life, reduces their risk of substance abuse, and ultimately shows them you care.
So yes, meditation and proper nutrition have helped me lead a clean and more focused life over the past 8 years. During this time, I have become stronger in mind, body, and spirit. And truth be told, I never thought I’d ever feel this way and this good. And I don’t need drugs or alcohol to do it.
So, what do you think? Do you think it is possible?